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Responsibility Management Practice Analysis and Recommendations

Identification of the Management Challenge

You should identify ONE major responsible management challenge your case company currently faces, and analyse it in the context of the company’s existing responsible management practices. You should then make recommendations for how the company should address the challenge through a combination of TWO or THREE different business functions covered in the module (e.g. business models, strategy, communications, HRM, and supply chains). Your analysis and recommendations should be supported by research, and you should clearly indicate how the functions will work together to solve the challenge identified.

Unpick the question – here are some suggestions:

Major responsible management challenge: This could be an issue partly based on the megatrend that you discussed in the group infographic. However you should not simply repeat what you said in the group reports – partly because this could constitute plagiarism. You should also ensure that the challenge is current- do not write about a scandal that occurred five years ago, for example.


Recommendations: be practical/practicable and realistic as well as ambitious, all within the context of responsible management and the company’s existing ways of addressing responsible management issues (social, environmental and/or ethical) – what could/should the company be doing differently?


Identification and justification: Always ensure you are identifying (e.g. naming a challenge; naming the functions; naming a recommendation) as well as explaining through a strong argument why these functions/ recommendations make sense.


Support thought academic and other reputable sources of evidence: Your arguments are only as good as the evidence base you support them with. Use academic journal articles, books, chapters, NGO reports, government policy, company websites, competitors’ websites, newspaper articles, consultancy reports to build and support your claims.


1. When can I submit my report?

We aim to have the turnitin submission tab open one week before submission.

2. Is there a deadline to ask questions?

Yes –  4th January 2022. This is the last day before submission of the report to ask us questions about the report either by email or via the Moodle forum.

3. How will questions be answered?

All questions you ask us via the main Moodle discussion forum will be answered on the Moodle discussion forum. Therefore, the Moodle forum will be a repository of information for all students to refer to while writing their reports. We encourage students to make full use of the information in this document and on the Moodle forum before emailing new questions, as well as over the time up until the deadline for asking questions.


4. Will each posting on the Moodle forum automatically be emailed to all students on the course?

No. It is therefore your responsibility to look at all the information on the Moodle Forum as you need to. Subscription is optional, but we would recommend subscribing to the forum posts (daily digests are an option – one email at the end of the day).

5. When will we get our marks?

Check the Moodle Assessment Information box for return dates.

This date is within the 4 week deadline specified by the school for large courses.

6. Can I use graphics (figures, diagrams, graphs, tables etc.) in my report?

Yes. Sometimes a small number of well-focused graphics can help make a point much more effectively. However, be careful not to overdo it as too many graphics can detract from the flow of your argument.

7. If I am to repurpose a graph from our group infographic (that I individually found and adapted) could this be construed as plagiarism?

Re-using a graph is possible, but to avoid any misconceptions make it clear by stating "as discussed" or "as referred to in the group infographic"... and by acknowledging the source accordingly and correctly.

Re-using paragraphs is a different matter and should not be done.

8. For a holding company like XYZ, can I choose one subsidiary company or division and focus on that?

Yes, as long as you explain and convincingly justify your choice in your introduction.

9. Are the major responsible management challenges the same as the megatrends?

No. The megatrends can give rise to major challenges and constrain solutions to these challenges.

10. Can we use the other functions covered on the course?

The other topics covered in the lectures include international business and entrepreneurship. We do not regard these as the major traditional functions, rather they help the traditional functions to operate more or less effectively. They were therefore not included as options in the assignment question. They could, however, constitute part of the existing practices, and practical implications and might constitute a particular constraint or challenge.

11. Is it possible to cover a past challenge or does it have to be in the future?

The assignment question uses present tense: "... analyse one major responsible management challenge the company faces..." and future tense "... and make recommendations for how the company should address this challenge."

A past challenge could only be made relevant if it was still a major causal factor in a current challenge that needs addressing. It is up to you to justify how you have answered this specific part, but the justification needs to be plausible.

Integration of Business Functions

12. How many recommendations should I make?

Part of the report question asks you to make recommendations. The marking criteria show that 30% of the marks for the report overall are linked to the recommendations.

In deciding how many recommendations to make, bear in mind the law of diminishing returns and the word limit for the report. To score high marks for any one recommendation you make is likely to require you to go into a reasonable amount of depth. So within the word limit, if you make too many recommendations you are unlikely to have the space to write a high quality explanation and justification for each recommendation so are making it difficult for yourself to achieve a high mark. Conversely, the law of diminishing returns would indicate that once you write sufficient to score a high mark for one recommendation, extra space devoted to making this recommendation even stronger is likely to score fewer marks than the same amount of space devoted to discussing another recommendation.

It has to be your choice about how many recommendations you feel is appropriate. However we suspect for most reports that you should be aiming for at least two recommendations (after all, the questions does ask for 'recommendations' not just one 'recommendation'), while four or more recommendations is likely to leave you with insufficient space to develop each recommendation, and the links between them, in much depth.

13. I am having trouble with identifying an appropriate challenge as the one I feel is most relevant to company A and its Function G would be X.

It is not for us to suggest if your choice of responsible management challenge is appropriate or not. It all boils down to substantive evidence and justification.

14. Should we choose the challenge first, and then the functions that would best address it? Or can I choose the functions I want to write about first, and then find a challenge related to them?

As with most report questions in the final year, there are a variety of approaches you could take, and it is up to you to decide how best to answer the question in light of the information you have about the company and its context. So we can only make comments in response to your questions rather than provide definitive answers.

Generally, as long as there is a good coherent relationship between your challenge, functions and recommendations, you are doing it right!

15. When making recommendations suggesting how a company could tackle a particular challenge, if there is no information given on their website explaining whether this is already adopted, would we still be able to include it as a valid suggestion? As for example, referring to the HRM aspect, some employee practices can be very specific and are not in this case on the company website. Therefore, there is no way of knowing whether one of my suggestions is a practice that is already adopted.

We suspect there will be a lot of suggestions that are made in reports where there is no information in the public domain about whether the company has already adopted the policy. We do not see this as a problem so long you can provide a high quality justification for why the suggested solution is reasonable and appropriate.

16. Can reputation of the company be a major responsible management challenge in a HRM perspective? I was thinking about explaining that employees’ non-responsible behaviour (corruption…) have tainted my company’s reputation. Thus, it has led to consumer’s boycott of the brand, loss of sales and profit…

We can see how preventing corruption can be a responsible management challenge from an HRM perspective, and how corruption can damage reputation. However, we would say that challenging/stopping corruption is the challenge, and we struggle to see how ‘reputation’ is the HRM challenge. A broader challenge could be maintaining or enhancing the company's reputation, but this is a pretty broad challenge that the more focused HRM challenge of tackling corruption feeds into. Greater focus enables you to answer in greater depth and is likely to have potential for higher marks.

17. If I go against the case of social/environmental responsibility will I be penalised if I back my arguments with relevant academic sources?

There is no penalty for using academic sources, but make sure your argument is strong on the basis of these sources.

18. I have received contradictory advice regarding my challenge. What should I do?

The reason why you might have received seemingly contradictory advice is that these things are a matter of judgment and interpretation, both by staff and students. It is therefore all the more important that you provide a solid justification for your choice of challenge.

19. I have chosen HRM for my response, but do we have to use a HRM tool that was specifically referred to in the lectures, or can we have our own recommendation that is linked to how human resources are managed and controlled but perhaps not mentioned in the lecture / readings.

Recommendations can go beyond lectures/readings and are thus not confined by them.

20. What do you mean when you say ‘how the corporate functions work together to achieve the recommendations suggested?’

We mean that an organisation doesn’t usually run its functions (or if it’s easier to imagine, its departments) in silos. These functions often have to work together. So you might think about how business model strategy (one function) for supply chain management (another function) need to be communicated (another function).

21. Should we make 1 recommendation for each chosen function e.g. 1 recommendation using strategy and 1 recommendation using marketing?Or should we combine the 2/3 corporate functions in each recommendation we make?

Our advice is to remember that you are making recommendations to 'solve' the challenge you've identified. You should then explain which 2-3 functions will deliver these recommendations, and how the functions work together. You may have separate functions for each recommendation, and then explain how they work together, or you may cover a number of functions for each recommendation.

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